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Rhyacotriton olympicus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA CAUDATA RHYACOTRITONIDAE

Scientific Name: Rhyacotriton olympicus
Species Authority: (Gaige, 1917)
Common Name(s):
English Olympic Torrent Salamander
Synonym(s):
Ranodon olympicus Gaige, 1917
Taxonomic Notes: Rhyacotriton variegatus, R. kezeri and R. cascadae formerly were included in this species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor(s): Geoffrey Hammerson
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Justification:
Listed as Vulnerable because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat in Washington State.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species can be found in the Olympic Peninsula in Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, and Mason counties, Washington, United States (Good and Wake 1992).
Countries:
Native:
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Recent surveys of Olympic National Park (Bury and Adams 2000) showed the species to be widespread, occurring in 41% of 168 streams and 47% of 235 seeps surveyed. They were more abundant in streams with northerly aspects and steep gradients.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It can be found in coastal coniferous forests in small, cold mountain streams and spring seepages. Larvae often occur under stones in shaded streams. Adults also inhabit these streams or streamsides in saturated moss-covered talus, or under rocks in splash zone. Primarily in older forest sites, required microclimatic and microhabitat conditions generally exist only in older forests (Welsh 1990). Two Rhyacotriton were found in deep, narrow rock crevices; eggs were lying in cold, slow-moving water (Nussbaum, Brodie and Storm 1983).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is sensitive to increased temperature and sedimentation. Timber harvest negatively affects Rhyacotriton salamanders more than any other sympatric amphibians (Bury and Corn 1988b; Corn and Bury 1989); however, lower-gradient, higher-order streams, which might intrinsically provide poor habitat for this species are more often disturbed by timber harvest. Hence, the effects of timber harvest per se on torrent salamanders has probably been confounded with natural variation in habitat quality (Hayes and Jones 2005). Some populations are isolated by intervening areas of unsuitable habitat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: They are protected in Olympic National Park. Conservation needs include retention of old-growth buffers around headwater streams (Petranka 1998). Population trends data are needed.

Citation: Geoffrey Hammerson 2004. Rhyacotriton olympicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 November 2014.
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